When I first spotted the story, I thought it just had to be a joke … but no, apparently it is quite real.
The Catholics have indeed been having a bit of an image problem. Gosh I wonder why, could it possibly be something to so with having priests who think that buggering young kids is a jolly good idea, and the fact that they covered it all up? No it just can’t be that, it must be something else.
So when you have a bit of a PR disaster on your hands, who do you turn to? A Fox news reporter. John Hopper, reports in today’s Guardian …
A Fox News reporter has been chosen by Pope Benedict to burnish the Vatican’s image amid signs that the 85-year-old pontiff is plotting a radical shakeup at the top of the Roman Catholic church.
Greg Burke, a 52-year-old member of the conservative Opus Dei fellowship, is to take a strategic communication role in the Vatican’s most important government department, the secretariat of state.
He said: “I feel exactly the way I felt in Lebanon at the start of the 2006 war – nervous and excited at the same time, with a guarantee that it is going to be interesting. I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I know it’s going to be interesting.”
Burke, who is currently Rome correspondent for Fox television, said his role would be different from that of Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See’s press office.
Thinking about it, it actually makes sense (from their viewpoint), if you are going to appoint a press officer they do not need somebody who deals with facts, so perhaps having somebody with a lot of Fox News experience is not only ideal and but will also be well versed in giving things a completely fictious degree of spin.
I also note that Mr Burke is not just an ordinary Catholic, but rather a deeply fanatical one; he is a member of Opus Dei. Sadly I know way too much about them, how intensely secretive they can be, and how they operate; I went to a school in Ireland run by them and saw their aggressive recruitment practices in action such as showering potential members with intense praise. They are very right-wing and think that Hitler simply had a lot of bad press.